Water!

Humans continually violate the harmony of nature and, as a result, suffer from lack of natural resources. This constant and resonant plot is embodied in numerous works of art. Mustafah Abdulaziz, American photographer based in Berlin, is undertaking a 15 year long project (2011 to 2026) appropriately named Water. He traveled the world looking for water, researching how different cultures perceive water, its exploitation, and the challenges to preserve our planet’s most vital resource. Today, his body of work covers eight countries on four continents, and is supported by Water Aid, Earth Watch, WWF, VSCO, and the UN.

The image below capture a group of fishermen waiting for their turn to sea. The locale is Sindh Province, Pakistan, 2013.Abdulaziz’s striking images look at the fragility of life but, more importantly, they hold up a mirror to how our individual behavior affects the collective’s quality of life.

The 2 images below is from Sierra Leone. The availability of drinking water in this country is limited. Studies of recent years show that the need for drinking water in urban population of Sierra Leone is satisfied only by some 84%, and rural by only 32%.

India. The population of India is 3.5 times greater than that of US, creating a huge burden on agriculture and natural resources. About 21% of infectious diseases in the country is due to the quality of drinking water, which is significantly lower than any allowable level.Pakistan. Scientists from the UN University believe that the first nuclear conflict on Earth might break out not between Russia and the United States but between Pakistan and India due to lack of drinking water.

Nigeria. The most densely populated country of the African continent risks to enter the top three most populous countries of the world by 2050. Today, more than 60 million Nigerians live without access to drinking water, and more than 100 million lack access to purified water.

Interview with the photographer and more images in Photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz Traveled the World Looking for Waterre.

 

The Art Of Passover

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 10–18, 2017 (Hebrew year 5777).
Happy Passover to those who celebrate. !חג פסח שמח
For Jews around the world, the Pesach Seder is an excellent occasion to gather at a large table, eat, drink and recall the exodus from Egypt.

For the great painters of the Renaissance, the ritual served as an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

Here is how Leonardo da Vinci painted the Seder of 13 Nisan 3793 on the wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. The painting dates from 1495-1498:
Below is the engraving of Albrecht Dürer, created in 1523, from collection of the New York Metropolitan Museum. St John is easily recognized here not only by the absence of a beard, but also by his place at the festive table. It is unclear, though, where the Jesus’s favorite pupil hid his legs. Judas is conspicuously absent, perhaps not to spoil the festive mood.Still below, is the amusing painting of Paolo Veronese “The Feast in the House of Levi”. Originally it was also called “The Last Supper”, but it had to be renamed after the intervention of the Inquisition, accusing the artist of an unfaithful depiction of the event. Veronese’s Last Supper is different from the canonical description by the evangelists. The Seder begins after the stars come out, however Veronese’s Seder feast takes place in the light of the day. The main objection, though, was the “composition” of the participants  — too many people that shouldn’t have been in the presence of Jesus at His Last Supper. The problem went away when the feast has been moved to the “house of Levi”. The canvas of epic proportions (one and a half times larger than Leonardo’s fresco) occupies the entire wall of the Venetian Academy:
The famous canvas of Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti), created in Venice almost 100 years after the masterpiece of Leonardo. The painting is exhibited in the Basilica of San Giorgio Maggiore on the island of the same name. In the best baroque traditions, it depicts Jesus and his disciples at the festive table in the 16th century Venetian trattoria. Curiously, the mighty Inquisition had no problem with Tintoretto who placed a number of extraneous persons onto the canvas. Perhaps, it was because the supper takes place with the stars out?
“The Last Supper” by the Russian artist Nikolai Ge below was presented to the public in the fall of 1863 in the Academy of Arts of St. Petersburg. Church censorship tried to ban it and demanded its removal from the exhibition. The day was saved by Tsar Alexander II intervention. The royal mecenat bought the painting from the artist. Grudgingly, the clerics had to forget about their claims for a while (although the synodal ban on the publication of reproductions in Russia persisted until the February Revolution of 1917).It should be noted that of the five masterpieces above, only Nikolai Ge’s correctly reflected the ritual of the Last Supper: Passover, the exodus of Jews from Egyptian bondage should be celebrated reclining (מסובין) rather than sitting on the chairs around the table. Accordingly, Jesus’s beloved disciple shouldn’t be depicted sitting on the Teacher’s lap as portrayed by Durer, but rather reclined beside Him.

Many other great masters painted the Last Supper, among them Daniele Crespi, Hans Holbein (Hans the Younger), Juan de Juanes, Ugolino da Siena, Duccio di Buoninsegna

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio

The Feather Book of Dionisio Minaggio, also referred to in Italian as Il bestiario barocco (The Baroque Bestiary), is a collection of 156 pictures made almost entirely from bird feathers augmented with pieces of bird skin, feet, and beaks. They were created between 1616 and 1618 by Dionisio Minaggio, the chief gardener of the Duchy of Milan and were originally bound into a book. The majority of pictures in the book are of birds indigenous to the Lombardy region of Italy at the time, but it also contained sets of other images depicting hunters, tradesmen, musicians, and commedia dell’arte characters. (Wikipedia)There are amusing scenes of everyday life: a patient suffering in the hands of a dentist, a man playing a melody on a pipe, and waiting for his dog to “do her things” — musicians, artisans and actors, birds and plants.
At that time, Milan was ruled by Spain, and the Spaniards were familiar with the art of the pen widely practiced in Central and South America. Although the style and methods were very different, it is possible that knowledge about this art form served as inspiration. Still, this is only an educated guess.To this day, we do not have the faintest idea why Dionisio Minaggio created such an unusual for the time book, and who, if anyone, commissioned it.

Meet The Artist: Pedro Roldán Molina

molina 1.jpg
molina 98molina 2An unusual technique, sunny colors, a fantastic country…

Molina_hudozhnikPedro Roldán Molina is an internationally recognized and well-known Spanish artist. He was born in the province of Cordoba in Rute, Spain, in 1954. He studied art in Barcelona. His work can be seen in major museums around the world.

Currently, Pedro Roldán Molina lives and works in Granada, Spain.

molina 7 molina 4An aura of a perfect dream…molina 8What you see and hear, to some extent, depends on what you are. I believe that each canvas, still life, landscape, in essence, is a self-portrait of the soul. (From a blog featuring  works of Pedro Roldán Molina.)molina 95molina 6molina 91molina 93molina 94

Trash As Art

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Portuguese street artist Artur Bordalo creates monumental three-dimensional sculptures of animals using, well, garbage that people routinely throw out, depositing their refuse not necessarily in or around designated garbage disposal places. Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама  The artist wants to draw public attention to environmental pollution.Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Arthur creates three-dimensional animals from garbage and old rubbish, which people throw out.Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Artur’s work can be found not only in Portugal, but also in other countries, in particular in the United States and Estonia. Presumably, he doesn’t transport his native Portuguese garbage but uses local materials easily found no matter wherever he goes.  Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

Скульптуры животных из мусора и хлама

It Hurts!

The Milgram Experiment  of 1961 showed ordinary people were willing to inflict terrible pain on a stranger when ‘following orders’. Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist, attempted to test social compliance. His inspiration was the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann’s defense for arranging the mass killing of Jews was that he was only ‘following orders’.

Derren Brown recreated the experiment in his 2006 documentary The Heist. His findings differed not the whole lot from the Milgram original most subjects would, indeed, harm others, following orders given by persons of authority.

Human nature, surely, must’ve changed in fifty years! We’ve become more independent, less subservient, more defiant, freer thinkers, less willing to obey the authority without questioning its motives. More humane! That’s it. Haven’t we become all of the above?  We must have! Well? What?

Yes. Human nature have changed.  If anything, it has got worse. 

This time, 80 participants were recruited, including women as well as men, and 90 per cent were willing to inflict the highest shock level of 450 volts to a complicit “learner” screaming in agony.

Social psychologist Dr Tomasz Grzyb, from the SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland, said: “Upon learning about Milgram’s experiments, a vast majority of people claim that ‘I would never behave in such a manner’.

“Our study has, yet again, illustrated the tremendous power of the situation the subjects are confronted with and how easily they can agree to things which they find unpleasant.”

The participants, aged 18 to 69, were shown an electric generator which was demonstrated by administering a mild shock of 45 volts.

Volunteers were given a series of 10 levers to press, each appearing to send a successively higher shock to the learner – out of sight in a neighbouring room – via electrodes attached to the wrist.

In reality, no electric shocks were delivered, and, as in the original experiment, the learner was playing a role.

After pressing lever number two, “successive impulses of electricity ” resulted in screams of increasing pain from the learner,” the scientists wrote in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

“These screams were recorded and played back at appropriate moments.”

The “teachers” were told they were taking part in research on memory and learning.

Just as in Milgram’s experiment, they were spurred on by prompts from the supervising scientist such as “the experiment requires that you continue”, “it is absolutely essential that you continue”, and “you have no other choice, you must go on”.

Mercy was more apparent when the learner was a woman. In this case, the number of participants refusing to carry out the orders of the experimenter was three times higher than when the person receiving the “shocks” was a man.

Dr Grzyb concluded: “Half a century after Milgram’s original research into obedience to authority, a striking majority of subjects are still willing to electrocute a helpless individual.” 

The above is a quote from the article in The Telegraph with a telling title, Nine in 10 people would electrocute others if ordered, rerun of infamous Milgram Experiment shows.

The article also mentions a recent study conducted at St Andrew’s University. The study suggests that people were happy to inflict pain on others if they believed it was for the greater good. The researchers looked back through records of the original experiment and found that those who took part were not unhappy with their choice.

So much for the humanity, human morals and its spirit, healthy and free. Makes you want to scream, “It hurts!”

Sick Genius

  • CRISPR-Cas9 is a unique technology that enables geneticists and medical researchers to edit parts of the genome by removing, adding or altering sections of the DNA sequence.
  • It is currently the simplest, most versatile and precise method of genetic manipulation and is therefore causing a buzz in the science world.

How does it work? That’s how. Amazing stuff, really. However… Editing genes to eliminate cancer or Schizophrenia could stop the rise of geniuses, scientist warns.

 If you haven’t followed the link, the article sums up the following: Dr. James Kozubek, the author of ‘Modern Prometheus: Editing the Human Genome with Crispr-Cas9’ suggests that the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 — which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer — is not completely a positive.

In 'Modern Prometheus,' Kozubek says the gene-editing technology Crispr-Cas9 ¿ which is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer ¿ is not  completely a positive thing‘Before we begin modifying our genes with gene editing tools such as Crispr-Cas9, we’d be smart to recall that genetic variants that contribute to psychiatric conditions may even be beneficial depending on the environment or genetic background.’

In a word, while gene modification technique is being tested in the US and China to curb the spread of cancer and it may also erase depression or Schizophrenia, it could eliminate geniuses — as high intelligence are often associated with such disorders.

  • Writers are 10 times more likely to have Bipolar Disorder.
  • Poets are diagnosed with it 40 times more often than the general population.
  • Thomas Edison was ‘addled’ and kicked out of school.
  • Tennessee Williams, as a teenager on the boulevards of Paris felt afraid of the process of thought and came within a hairsbreadth of going quite mad.
  • Scientists tend to think of variations in life as problems to be solved, deviations and abnormalities outside of a normal curve.
  • In reality, Darwin showed us that evolution does not progress toward an ideal concept or model, but rather is a work of tinkering toward adaptation in local niches.

Go and figure…

Rooms With A View

 

Banksy.jpgBETHLEHEM, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian guest house packed with artwork by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy unveiled itself Friday in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, with a sneak peek of what the owner called the “hotel with the worst view in the world.”

Banksy has made previous forays into the Palestinian territories. In one secret visit, he drew a painting of a girl pulled upward by balloons on the barrier facing his current project. Last year, he is believed to have sneaked into Gaza to draw four street murals, including one on a metal door that depicted the Greek goddess Niobe cowering against the rubble of a destroyed house. The painting, titled “Bomb Damage,” was drawn on the last remaining part of a two-story house that was destroyed in the 2014 war between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers.

banksy1Wisam Salsaa, 42, said the nine-room Walled Off Hotel will officially open on Mar. 11, but he offered a handful of reporters a tour. The hotel looks directly out at the West Bank separation barrier erected by Israel to ward off potential Palestinian attackers. The barrier, which Palestinians consider to be a land grab that stifles their movement, is heavily decorated by artists, and Banksy has previously painted several murals on a walled segment of it.banksy2The hotel  has the markings of a gentleman’s club from the English colonial period. One small niche accommodates a life-size figure of Arthur James Balfour signing the 1917 letter that came to be known as the Balfour declaration — the basis for the international push for the creation of Israel. banksyThe cheapest room, $30 a night, is a dormitory-style room with bunkbeds.

The whole project took 14 months to complete and was kept under complete secrecy, in accordance with Banksy’s request to protect his anonymity. 

 An Israeli security watch tower is seen from one of the roomsSalsaa said the entire interior was personally overseen by Banksy, to the very last details. The hotel is the largest new body of the artist’s work in years, according to a press release distributed by representatives who attended Friday’s tour.The hotel, several of whose rooms look onto an Israeli security watchtower, is awash in the trademark satirical work of the mysterious artist. The highlight is Room 3, where guests sleep in a king-size bed underneath Banksy’s artwork showing a Palestinian and an Israeli in a pillow fight.

The artist’s satirical stencils — rats, kissing policemen, riot police with yellow smiley faces — first appeared on walls in Bristol before spreading to London and then around the world. His artwork comments on war, child poverty and the environment. His identity remains a mystery, but his works have fetched as much as $1.8 million at auctions. (From the article by NEBI QENA, AP News).

Articles on Banksy’s newest endeavor appeared in The Telegraph (The Walled Off Hotel: Banksy opens dystopian tourist attraction in Bethlehem) and many other publications and internet sources.

Testosterone Plays the Market

A team of researchers of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) determined that exaggerated risk-taking in financial and business endeavors is driven by… increased levels of testosterone.

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone and an anabolic steroid. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of male reproductive tissues such as the testis and prostate, as well as promoting secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, and the growth of body hair. (Wikipedia.)

This phenomenon creates a state-of-mind where stock brokers feel their luck is unstoppable and things go their way no matter what.  The rise in testosterone level after a successful investment causes the individual loose all care, to take risks with abandon, which, in turn, creates stock market price bubbles.

Female stock brokers, research shows, seem to be largely unaffected, presumably due to lack of testosterone.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.

Makes you wonder, isn’t it? 

The effect is driven by the rise in testosterone level that occurs from a successful investment, which in turn causes the individual to take risks and create price bubbles.

It was also only found to affect performance among men, not women.

Stock market ‘bubbles’ can be caused by soaring testosterone levels among traders.

 

Lonely And Unloved

konstantin-dverinCharities Relate and Relationships Scotland conducted an annual study on loneliness. Results are discouraging: loneliness is on the rise, with more than one in eight adults saying they do not have a close friend — a three per cent increase compared to the previous years results.

Almost seven million people in the UK do not have someone they can rely on. sad mood

The charity’s report, You’re Not Alone – The Quality of the UK’s Social Relationships, report that 13 per cent of respondents did not have someone they were close with, up from 10 per cent when the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. Nearly half (45 per cent) of UK adults felt lonely at least some of the time and almost a fifth (18 per cent) felt lonely most if not all the time.

A survey of more than 5,000 people indicates that almost one in six (17 per cent) admit of never (5 per cent) or rarely (12 per cent) having felt loved.  Sad and disheartening.

The research raises concern that increased dependence on social media, lack of work/life balance and the pressures of bringing up children could be affecting people’s friendships.

Image result for lonely WITH COMPUTER IMAGES

Life can take over as we juggle careers with family life and it might seem as if our social media friend count is high but what is the quality of those friendships really like?